The beauty industry is a different business than it was in the last century. Sounds like such a long time ago, but it’s less than sixteen years ago!

We’ve moved from paper appointment books to “cloud-based” data collection, cash and cheques to fancy credit/debit machines, one-price shopping to multi-level tiers,  and the stylist-driven clientele to the sophisticated marketing plans of the salon owner. On the downside, we have seen our pricing increase by only 25-50% for baseline services and our costs increase by 200-300%!

Finding service providers is an on-going issue for our salon owners today.

It seems there are more stylists working behind the chair in the last century than there are now. There are more and more chair/booth renters showing up in the market place, which is a clear indication that what is going on in the salon business is not suiting the requirements of many of the employees. They are looking for a comfort zone in a rapidly changing business model.

We aren’t keeping up with the societal and technological changes that are happening in our industry.

When we talk about problems, we have to talk about solutions. We start by looking at long-term solutions. The logic: the product we provide the market-place is service, something that can’t be bought online. That gives us a unique situation in the marketplace, because our clients have to come to us and we have the opportunity to capture their retail products purchases as well. You can buy products online, but you can’t buy service!

In today’s market, the responsibility for bringing in clients and marketing/building the business falls squarely on the owner.

In the “olden days”, owners advertised for “stylists with clientele”, and the onus for building the business fell directly into the lap of the service provider. Why are so many stylists leaving for a chair/booth rental? Something is happening in the salon industry that is creating a disconnection with our service providers.

Part of the responsibility is the difference in expectations of the new talent entering the work force. In the last century, stylists generally did everything in the salon, from answering the phones to marketing the business. Everyone working behind the chair knew exactly what everyone else was earning. There was a fairly simple structure in place based mostly on 50% commission.

Only 25% of your employees are actively engaged in your business!

In today’s salon, they stylist is expected to climb tiers and levels based on their technical and retailing abilities. In Canada, it has been recorded that a whopping 60% of employees are not engaged in their business of employment and 15% are disengaged. That’s 15% of your employees who are actively DAMAGING your business!

We need to look at a different method to reimburse our service providers.

With that disengagement, we must look at new ways to capture the commitment of our employees. We need to see more hourly wages being offered rather than commissions. We will still see levels and tiers for stylists to grow with wages increasing with each level, and what that will create is a more stable income for service providers in the salon. That stability will mean that fewer stylists will leave their salons and we will see fewer chair/booth renters opening. It is much harder to give up a solid income for the instability of a chair rent.

It also means that stylists won’t just walk away when they have a two-hour cancellation.

They will be available for that last minute client or the walk-by traffic. The service provider will be there to provide a service and the salon owner will provide the client. Without giving some serious consideration to what it is we want to achieve in our industry, we will continue to struggle along, slapping band-aids on our symptoms without addressing some of the underlying issues.

Time to get off the apathy train and start planning on a great future. Let us know what your perception of the future is. Change is good!